In recent years, the high school shooting spree has made the leap from freak occurrence to veritable rite of passage. This is a fact both sad and horrifying, but a fact it is; and smart students will want to prepare for the inevitable lunchroom gun battle as well as they prepare for their SATs: with diligence, intelligence, and last-minute ingenuity. Until your parents can afford home schooling, private tutors, or the new line of bulletproof teen-wear by Tommy Hilfiger, your high school survival is in your own hands. Following the steps set forth in this guide will insure you a maximum chance of exiting high school in a cap and gown, rather than a body bag and toe tag.
Avoiding potentially perilous situations is the first step toward self-protection. Historically, the majority of high school shootings occur in areas where large groups of students congregate—namely, lunchrooms and libraries. While avoiding these places altogether may be tempting, it's not entirely feasible: Every student needs a place to eat and sleep. However, careful assessment of a situation can greatly boost a student's odds of survival.
Choosing Your Seat. In both lunchroom and library, your first impulse might be to sit as close as possible to the exit. The decision is not so simple. If your would-be gunman is already in the room, you're first in line for the door. If your assailant is a rampaging visitor, you're first in line for a bullet. For maximum safety, take a seat near, but not directly next to, the exit. For added protection, surround yourself with other students, particularly ones you're not too fond of.
Keeping Alert. Conscientious students can easily recognize signs of danger. Twitching, muttering, surreptitiously caressing a lumpy metal object in a coat pocket—all of these are telltale signs that a classmate may be ready to explode. But remember! There are exceptions to every rule, and while you're busy watching the black-clad, KMFDM T-shirt-wearing freak, the girl who looks like Laura Ingalls Wilder could be loading her Uzi.
During a Shoot-Out:
In an out-of-control situation, all you can control is yourself. By employing some basic tactical maneuvers, you can greatly increase your chances of getting out of a rampage alive.
Bargaining. When bargaining with a would-be assassin, remember you are not actually "bargaining"—you're stalling for time. By offering a gun-wielding classmate candy, concert tickets, or even sexual favors, you create a window of opportunity for somebody else—a policeman, a janitor, a fellow student—to whip out his or her own weapon and take down your distracted assailant. However, you should avoid groveling. Few things are more appealing to a killer than shooting a mealy-mouthed ninny.
Playing Dead. For best faux-death results, lie sprawled on your stomach and take shallow breaths through your nose. For added safety, carry a phony blood pack. This spares you the trouble (and health risks) of having to smear your "dead" body with a wounded classmate's blood.
Attempting Escape. An iffy proposition. Gunmen love a moving target. You should run only if you're guaranteed an escape. Otherwise, stay where you are and play dead.
When the Shooting's Done:
Removing Bloodstains. As with all tough stains, blood—both fake and real—is best removed using the Holy Trinity of Stainbusting: club soda, toothpaste, and peanut butter. However, it's hard to argue with bloodstains, and if there was ever a time to manipulate your parents into buying you a sassy new wardrobe, this is it.
Speaking to the Press. If watching your classmates get gunned down is a bunch of lemons, getting your face all over the news is a nice tall pitcher of lemonade. Should you survive your high school shoot-out, it will be your civic duty to commemorate the dead by channeling your raw grief directly into the nearest TV camera. Feel free to practice at home. Stare into the mirror, rustle up some tears, then bellow in your huskiest voice, "She was my frieennnnddddd!!!" Extra points for hyperventilating.
Healing & Moving On. Human life is a temporal thing, and wallowing in grief over lost friends should be kept to a minimum, as it ultimately interferes with our school's calendar. Besides, this tragedy will surely be replaced by another by week's end, so it's unwise to flaunt your status as a survivor. Remember, your safety lies ultimately in God's hands—and God really hates a gloater.